“Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a thousand
schools of thought contend.”
—Chairman Mao Zedong
“Freedom to differ is not limited to things that
do not matter much; that is a mere shadow
of freedom. The test of its substance is to differ
on things that touch the heart of the existing order.”
—Justice Robert Jackson of the US Supreme Court
Quoting Chairman Mao does not make me a communist; the gem of thought quoted only affirms my faith in the law, especially section 4, Article III of the Philippine Constitution which states: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
So discussion on the need for constitutional revolution is not prohibited by law – criminal or otherwise. It is sanctified by the Philippine Constitution, whatever the criminals of the PNoy Aquino administration have to say.
These past three weeks I have been shuttling from Puerto Princesa City to Manila to Cagayan de Oro City and back to Manila. It has been an experience worth remembering – in terms of the greatness of the Divine Providence, the wonders of nature and the homespun wisdom of the ordinary people. They fortify your faith in the future of the country and the willingness and capacity of the people to learn.
While in these places, Rita Gaddi Balthazar – a brilliant gifted person – who handles a daily program in Radio Uno with the title of Sentido Comon (common sense, in English) calls me to share insights on what is happening in the country. And as usual, we share a common view that the situation of the country is bad, pretty bad, the face-lifting of Metro Manila for the APEC delegates notwithstanding.
Various revolutionary options
The time for idle talk is over. The time for revolution is here – not tomorrow but now, with all risks attendant to it.
In my case, I am an advocate for a constitutional revolution, not through a constitutional convention or a constituent assembly but through sections 1 and 3 of Article II of the Philippine Constitution.
Option one goes to the President of the Philippines as the elected leader of the Filipino people and as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Since revolution means systemic change, it is improbable that a cacique like Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd (BSA), who actually represents the oligarchy, the vested interests and the power elites, would opt for systemic change. Since he and his class fatten while enjoying the luxuries and perquisites of power of the system, he, obviously, is the number one objector to system change. So this option is out for systemic change.
Option two is the Armed Forces of the Philippines as the protector of the people and the State. Considering the highly publicized involvement of top military officers in graft and corruption, this option is remote if you think of the military as an institution. But the hope lies in the younger officers and rank and file of the military who may have escaped the chains of the military environment – preoccupation with career characterized by obsequious obedience to politicians; obsession with securing the future of their families; seduced by the luxurious lives of the rich and famous in the company of beautiful and attractive women resulting to the raising, either secretly or in the open, of second families and a fleet of concubines.
This option cannot be closed because there are young officers and men in the armed forces of the Philippines who love their country despite the blandishments of attractive careers and the greed for money and sex, just like traditional politicians and ambitious business men who are obsessed with the three major greeds – for money, sex and power – which destroy character, ideals, principles, vision and the proper value system.
The third option is the people. As a method of achieving revolutionary objectives, this is the best option available. But for this option to be successful, you need leaders who are willing to risk and do battle in the open. Where are these leaders?
Not a contradiction in terms
These leaders are in the womb of the people. Consistent with my theory since the Marcos years, there must be one in every million who is as brilliant, if not more so, than Marcos, whose vision of the country is as good, if not better, and who has the necessary discipline and will to achieve his vision for the country and the people in real terms. To contradict this theory is to insult the Filipinos and the Filipino intelligence.
The emergent leader who can make the difference is, in the words of an Australian journalist during the martial law years in the Philippines, he who will favorably respond to the challenge of death, meaning in the language of General George Patton, he who is willing to kill for his country. To die in war is to be defeated. The enemy should die, if at all, if you expect to win the war for your country.
As a man of peace and of the law, I opt for killing in the figurative sense. In the real sense, only as the extreme and unavoidable alternative!
But the search for leaders is hamstrung by several elements. First, the fear that revolution means use of violence that would result to a lot of bloodletting and blood flowing in the streets. Second, the humility of the prospective leader due to his fear that he maybe viewed as presumptuous. Third, the possibility of failure!
These elements should have no basis. Revolution as a method, as a take off point to systemic change, does not necessarily mean the use of violence. Minimal force maybe but not violence necessarily! But leadership, like life, involves a lot of risk. Even crossing a street, especially if you do it in a non-pedestrian lane involves risk. So the leader of a revolution, peaceful or otherwise, must be a risk taker. If he is not, he might as well go to bed and watch television. So violence and peaceful revolution are not contradictory terms; they are complementary.
Leaders are, as a rule, not humble in the course of the struggle as leadership requires a lot of audacity and more audacity. Audacity requires a lot of courage and use and display of courage is not characteristic of humility. The leader can only be humble in victory but not before.
A leader should never entertain the idea of a possible failure because defeat is never an option in the struggle for systemic change since change involves the lives of millions and the destiny of the country.
What is to be done?
This is the old Leninist question as exemplified in his book with that title. All similarly inclined souls should band together and formulate the program for a constitutional revolution and design the method to implement it. Those who are interested can call me in these numbers 09062661133 and 09156166791.
What are the things to do? First, after the organization of the key leaders, the group should be prepared to debate with those who are running for president in the 2016 the proposition that elections in 2016 are as useless as a hole in the head to move the country forward; that none of them can change the country and the people from within the system; that in the next six years, if no revolution would take place, the country would be the same – a life of ease and luxury for the rich but a life of misery and agony for the poor and underprivileged.
It is time now for the politicians and oligarchs to concentrate on the two major propositions of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich!” and “Those who make peaceful revolutions impossible make violent revolutions inevitable.” These imperatives serve as a warning to the leaders of the system which they cannot ignore. Ignore them and you pave the way for the deluge.
In a similar manner, the younger brother of President John Kennedy, Senator and Attorney-General Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy who was more passionate and intense about the dismal situation of the poor and underprivileged, once said: “They are hidden in our society. No one sees them anymore. They are invisible. A small minority in a rich country! Yet I am stunned by a lack of awareness of the rest of us toward them and their problems. We don’t see them.” These remarks were made in the course of the Democratic Party primary campaign in Terre Haute Southern Indiana in 1968 as well documented by David Halberstam in his book titled Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy.
Transporting it to the Philippines with politicians intensely campaigning for various positions in the May 2016 elections, one cannot help noticing the similarities and dissimilarities of the two settings: America as a rich country, the Philippines as a poor country; the poor in America constitutes a minority, in the Philippines the poor is the overwhelming majority; in America, in real terms, the poor is invisible, in the Philippines, we see them in their misery and squalor everyday of our life; in America, we had in a man, RFK, in 1968 and even before who saw them and wanted to improve their lives, making it meaningful and fruitful, in the Philippines, the politicians are edging each other in adoring the poor during elections but entirely forget them in the rest of their term.
So what is to be done? The poor and underprivileged must be given free education up to the university level; they must be given free medicines, medical attention and hospitalization; they must be given socialized housing to erase the ghettos and the squatter colonies all over the country; they must be given land, jobs in agriculture and industry, and total reorientation.
This is only for a beginning while at the same time cleansing all institutions in the country of graft and corruption, the disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor, injustice and oppression, servitude to foreign countries and foreign interests, among others, and domestic oppressors and colonizers.
These cannot be done through elections! We have had elections since 1949 until now and the conditions of the country, of the poor and underprivileged have not changed. These changes can only be made through a revolution! Doing it now and lengthening it to six years, in transition, is not a long time. It can be done. It must be done. It will be done if we do it together, not tomorrow but now!